Raising awareness of the impact that Endometriosis can have, Tara B (S6 Media Group) shares her own experience since being diagnosed 2 years ago.
March 2021 is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Whilst as common as Diabetes, the general public remain unaware of this condition, yet it affects one in ten women in the UK (15 million women of whom are at a menstruation age).
Since 2017, my menstrual cycles dramatically changed - I had excruciating pain and frequent sickness which became increasingly intolerable and unpredictable. The pain of cramps led me clinging onto any piece of furniture, including the shower rail - it feels like someone is punching me from the inside, someone else stabbing me on the outside whilst another person in my head telling me to just put a smile on my face and pretend everything is fine. At the same time I found myself unable to maintain the performance that I enjoyed as a highly motivated and successful competitive swimmer. Initially I thought like others, I was being a wimp and overreacting to something that is a natural and physiological function of a young woman. However, I began to realise that something wasn’t right and became deeply isolated and frustrated. This got to the point where I could no longer manage the situation that no one understood and shared my confusion with my parents.
Once my parents saw how I was suffering, they continually persuaded me to go to the GP, but I felt so insecure and thought I would be wasting their time. Looking back, the part of this which I regret the most was allowing the situation to continue whilst I knew in my heart something wasn’t right. For those out there - do not let this happen to you. The GP tried me on so much different medication but none of it was successful and made my existing symptoms worse. I was then referred to a Gynaecologist. Within 2 years I have been diagnosed with Endometriosis. The easiest way to describe it is an invisible illness - you would never know just by looking at me that I am battling with a long term chronic condition. It’s invisible because very few people know what it is and women and young girls are so afraid to talk about it but the cost of that is ultimately their own health. Those closest to me know the worst of what I go through: Sickness 5 times in the day as well 10 hours at night, excruciating cramps that don’t physically let me move in addition to chronic fatigue, loss of appetite and 30 minutes of sleep (if I’m lucky) until my menstrual cycles stop.
This gruelling part of my life sums up the reason why I am doing the #1in10 challenge, by running 10km every Saturday in March to raise money for Endometriosis UK. I want to help them make young girls and women realise that you're doing more harm to yourself if you put off any symptoms of Endometriosis - it is simply not just a bad menstrual cycle.
People like me only scream out for support, because we are screaming in pain. Please be part of the group which realises that it is simply not acceptable to let 1.5 million women suffer in silence with a condition that flips their lives upside down.